COVID-19 Exposes New and Unique Challenges In The Latino Community

By Consumers For Quality Care, on December 18, 2020

COVID-19 Exposes New and Unique Challenges In The Latino Community

The people who have suffered the most across the United States due to the Coronavirus pandemic are minorities in low-income households, and low-income Latino communities across the nation are facing new and unique challenges as a result of COVID-19, according to Kaiser Health News (KHN).

Restaurants, grocery stores, and many other businesses have remained open through the pandemic largely due to Latino workers. However, health care disparities, job insecurity, immigration status, and language barriers have led to some of the highest rates of COVID-19 infections among the Latino community.

Hispanic people in the U.S. face higher rates of infection than the general population. And while they make up about 17% of the population, they have accounted for 24% of COVID deaths.

While many in the Latino community have relied on trusted voices from within immigrant communities like registered nurse Ximena Rebolledo León in Telluride, Colorado, to provide them with basic information about COVID-19, the time and availability they are able to provide is often not enough to meet the need.

“I wanted them to have access to a nurse,” Rebolledo León said. “So it became a round-the-clock job.”

Mandating isolation in the Latino community due to potential contact to COVID-19 is sometimes near impossible because many fear losing their jobs, Colorado nurse Rebolledo León said.

Housing intended for four people often sheltered six or seven, she said. Some homes had a single bathroom, making it hard for one person to isolate from the rest of the household. For many immigrants, she said, their entire social circle is the people at work. When asked to stay away from their jobs, they may not have other friends outside their home who can help with food or other needs.

Immigrants who are undocumented are also suffering because agencies that could provide help often require Social Security numbers.

“It’s been a fight every single step,” Rebolledo León said. “If you’re undocumented in this country, you are aware that the information you are sharing could put so many others in serious problems.”